Embrace Grace is the deliberate creation of community to anchor us as we navigate the difficult work of transformation. People often say that they don’t have the willpower to make long-term, consistently healthy choices. However, it isn’t so much about willpower as it is discerning our deepest desires, the true motivations that keep us inspired in the midst of change.
Transformation is scary, because the revelation of deep truths can challenge long-term relationships that both support us and keep us from making radical change. Plus, too much change in too short a period of time makes it easy to gloss over the deep work and makes it difficult to anchor ourselves in habits that can be maintained through the seasons of the years, and the ups & downs of our personal & professional lives.
Through Embrace Grace, we protect time and create safe space in order to allow for the emergence of deep change. Together, we will:
- Sit in community
- Listen in different ways
- Feel the words/ideas that resonate deeply with us
- Explore those ideas more fully in the following weeks
- Integrate those ideas into our personal lived experiences
- Reflect upon how the ideas illuminate deeper truths within
When we feel safe to speak our truth, then we feel safe to ask for what we really need in order to be fully transformed.
Dear McCain Whole Health Care (MWHC) family,
As 2020 comes to a close and 2021 opens, I reflect upon my 2020 Word of the Year: Transform.
How has paying attention to this word shaped my perception of who I was, who I am, and who I am becoming? (Mindset)
How has living into this word given me the courage to step out of my comfort zone and engage in new experiences? (Movement)
How has embracing this word provided me the freedom to care for myself in new ways? (Nourishment)
How has sitting with this word allowed me to surrender at a deeper level and trust at a higher level? (Sabbath)
Words are powerful. One simple word- attended to, lived into, embraced, sat with- can change us more than a laundry list of resolutions. Because one word, whispered from your deepest self, inspired by the Spirit, can weave into every moment of your life to guide you as you discern the trustworthy voice that says, “This is the way, walk in it.”
At the end of 2019, instead of having my 1 word for 2020, 3 words for the next 3 years settled on my heart. 2020- Transform; 2021- Heal; 2022- Create.
My mind could never have imagined the upheaval that COVID would create in 2020 and the practice transformation that was needed! Transition to telehealth, creating community through computers, consolidation of physical space into an office with 4 exam rooms, and creation of energetic spaces within each room- Air, Earth, Water, Fire. I am so grateful that Randi & Teresa are co-creators with me!
Nor could I have imagined the personal transformation resulting from my participation in Lissa Rankin’s 6-month Whole Health Medicine Institute Level 1, acceptance into the Living School through the Center for Action & Contemplation, and taking a clear look at (and releasing) all the things/people/situations that prevent me from offering my fiercest, highest service to the world. I am so grateful for all those that were, are, and will be participants in MWHC- because with each relationship, I increase my understanding of dis-ease and expand my expectations for healing.
With the chaos that transformation brought at a personal, community, and global level, how appropriate that the call for 2021 is to Heal!
This call to heal is at a personal and collective level. So I wonder, how best to support the deconstruction of ways of being that no longer serve, so that we can increase our capacity to participate in the restoration of ourselves and the world?
This is where Embrace Grace, the project I began in 2019, is expanding in a new way.
We are each at different points of our journeys as we walk alongside one another. But whether our attention is on our mental, physical, emotional, or spiritual well-being, all of it matters. Still, we often overestimate what we can do in 1 day, and underestimate what we can do in 1 week/month/season/year. We critique ourselves for what’s left undone after 24 hours – that circadian rhythm is a masculine energy of action. But many important activities require an unfolding over time, as with the 28 day menstrual cycle that honors the feminine energy of contemplation; or with the quarterly seasonal cycle that encompasses both masculine and feminine energies in multiple cycles of birth and death for every living thing.
We sometimes forget that regardless of what we think we can control in time and space, there are parallel lives in billions of forms that were, are, and will be… there is a timelessness and spaciousness that is beyond our control, that we surrender to with every plan we make… and every plan we have to adjust when the surprise of interrelated lives affect us.
Simply to say- there are rhythms beyond the 24 hours, and when we recognize (acknowledge), respond to (act), and rest in (contemplate), the flow of all the rhythms available, we don’t force change according to individual, limited understandings, but rather partner with inevitable change to honor both personal and collective growth.
Still, it’s hard to trust in an unknown future when we don’t trust ourselves. Sure, we understand what’s right according to social, moral, and religious codes; those are collective rules and regulations that keep us safe. But do we trust those individual desires held deep in our hearts because they seem too wild, the unique gifts we hide because we’re fearful of judgment, the words we hold back because they have the power to change us and whoever we speak to?
How many times have we suppressed feelings when our hearts rejoiced, shied away from doing something even as our bodies were getting ready to jump into action, stopped the words that wanted to spill out… all because we didn’t feel safe enough to be fully vulnerable?
And every time we deny, avoid, or suppress our deepest desires, actions, or words, we pay a price. We begin to dis-trust our very Being (mind-body-spirit) and rely on our parts (mind OR body OR spirit). We dis-integrate. And thus, we foster dis-ease.
And after a year where so much has fallen apart … dis-trust, dis-integration, and dis-ease run rampant within us and among us. So let’s tend to the work of healing .. trust, integration, and ease. It’s work that has to start from the inside. This work of healing is not selfish. In fact, it is the most selfless work we can offer.
How can we ask others to trust us if we can’t trust ourselves?
How can we ask others to share with us the fullness of their Being (mind-body-spirit) if we don’t know the fullness of ourselves?
How can we heal the world when our own wounds are festering?
How can we dare to offer love to others, if we won’t receive it for ourselves?
And so, this is the work of Embrace Grace.
Embrace (verb): to accept and hold closely, willingly and enthusiastically
Grace (noun): the free and unearned gift of unconditional, eternal love
Before you can give love generously (Be Love)…
- Will you accept/receive generous love (Be Loved)?
- Will you hold love closely and be united with it (as Beloved)?
I invite you to Embrace Grace with me in 2021, and Heal.
Through the seasons, we will explore (Winter) Mindset, (Spring) Movement, (Summer) Nourishment, and (Autumn) Sabbath.
Within each month, we will enter the menstrual flow (Menstrual-Sabbath) Rest; (Follicular-Mindset) Preparation; (Ovulation-Movement) Connection, (Luteal-Nourishment) Completion.
Within each week, we will enter the flow of the Spirit (Respire-Rest) Contemplation; (Desire-Preparation) Action; (Conspire-Connection) Co-Creation; (Inspire-Completion) Reflection.
Do you see? The cycle is similar over seasons, months, and weeks. You are invited to embrace what you need, when you need it, to the heights and depth and breadth of your desires and what your life allows.
Much of the work of contemplation and reflection is done alone, as it should when we do the work of inner transformation. (Open to public)
We will also offer online small & large group opportunities for discussion, connection, and accountability. (Free for members, registration fee for non-members)
Finally, we anticipate offering socially distanced, small-group, in-person monthly meetings. (For members, RSVP required)
The day-to-day remains yours to plan as you will. My hope is that as you recognize, revel in, and rest in, these other rhythms, you discover greater freedom in every 24 hours of your life.
I hope you will Embrace Grace with me in 2021, and Heal.
Peace, health, & wholeness- Arlene